Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Bombay Duck is a Fish - Kanika Dhillon

Ever had a dream to make it big in Indian Film Industry? Ever checked your knowledge of Film Making? Ever wondered what exactly Mumbai is all about? Ever imagined how exactly a film is made? Ever thought from where all the rumors about Film stars come from? Ever thought if given a choice between survival and honesty, what would you choose? Ever imagined what guilty conscience is all about? “Bombay Duck Is A Fish” a debut novel by Kanika Dhillon, talks about dreams, reality, love, struggle, honesty, ethics, politics, Mumbai and films!

Neki Brar, yet another small town girl, begins her life in Mumbai in order to chase her dreams of becoming a renowned Film Maker. Little does she know that nothing comes ‘the easy way’ in Mumbai. She starts as a bottom most Assistant Director in a film by Fiza Kareem( one of the top directors, according to the book) and starts facing the reality of films. She learns Dos and Don’ts, blame game, art of deceiving, faking promises the hard way. Ranvir Khanna, the actor with looks to die for, the charmer, makes her fall in love with him and takes advantages. The other assistant directors, namely, Karan, PJ, Shivani, Kriti and Sam play an important role in changing her values and transforming her character from an honest and simple girl to a cunning and shrewd Assistant Director. Eventually she starts climbing the ladders to success and in that process makes more enemies. Battling rivalry, ambition, betrayal, politics and burning egos of Film stars, she discovers the beauty of her own ambition and the ugliness of true love.

A lot has been said and written about struggle and small town guys making big in Indian Film Industry, then why ‘Bombay Duck Is A Fish”?

Kanika Dhillon has used a very simple and honest writing style in the book. The details she gives about Film Making, such minute details, I tell you, are superb. She makes you watch the whole movie set and action through the words. Also, the first person writing style used in the book is so magnificently written that she makes you live the character of Neki Brar and feel her emotions and state of mind.

The life and role of Junior Artists, stunt men, make up men, spot boys, line producers, camera men, lighting men and many others are presented in such detail that you can’t help but praise Kanika. The reality of film stars, i.e., their intentions, their ego, their tantrums, their demands, their secrets and the truth is told in an unbiased and clear manner that she makes you realize that it doesn’t matter if the stars and everything look so fantastic and ideal, reality is always different. Everybody is pretentious. They have no other choice.

She also tells that if you have to survive in the industry and get credit and recognition of your work, you have to be at the right place at the right time and do the right thing. It doesn’t matter if that thing you do is right for you and wrong for others. Love is nothing in industry; everything that happens in the name of it is just an act of selfishness and lust.  

But, she does not forget to add that, if you want to fulfill your dreams, Mumbai is the city for you; and if you want to get lost, Mumbai is the city for you.
With so much about Mumbai, films and reality, “Bombay Duck Is A Fish” is for everyone who wants to get into Film Industry and has larger than life dreams. The book forces you to face the truth and the dark side of working in the industry. With such high stakes, where you know you’re going to lose much more than you gain, how far would you go in pursuit of dreams, and how many good virtues would you give up? And how can you be sure that despite of sacrificing so many things, you’ll eventually taste that ‘success’ you’ve been waiting for long?

Pros: Films, reality, dreams, ambition, virtues, Kanika’s natural flair with writing, superb editing, and fantastic conclusion in the end.

Cons: A few of you might call many events happening in the book ‘unreal’. For me, there are none.

Overall: 4.2/5

Do yourself a favor; buy this book this weekend and read it. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Hello Guys! Did you miss us? Yes, we missed you all too. After skipping a sling of Hollywood hits and a Salman Starrer, our man has chosen Shaitan to review this week. He seemed excited yesterday before the movie and now let’s see what effect movie had on him today. Please welcome, LEBNOX!

Hello Lebnox, you look stoned! Are you high?”

“High on Shaitan, I guess.”

“So that means you’re not gonna smoke or drink now?”

“I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. So that question is baseless.”

“Oh, oh. So let’s begin the interview. Shall we?”

“Umm…Yeah. Let’s do it.”

Q.1) The classic: Describe the movie in one word.
Lebnox: Insane!

Q.2) No, no. I asked about the movie.
Lebnox: I was not talking about you. (We know that was a good try, but we couldn’t beat him in his own game.)

Q.3) Okay okay. I should rather ask about performances.
Lebnox: Okay. Yeah, go ahead.

Q.4) I just d…. Okay, how were the performances? (He really had gone insane after watching the movie, we assumed.)

Lebnox: Everybody who acted in the movie was awesome. I mean I can’t pick out just one favorite from all those. Rajeev Khandelwaal, as Inspector Mathur, keeps on improving. He plays a frustrated cop who doesn’t hesitate in taking risks and is not afraid of anything. Gulshan Devaiya as Karan, aka KC, plays a spoilt brat who has a knack of doing shocking things out of anger or craziness and believes the base of every friendship is trust. Shiv Pandit as Dushyant, aka Dash, is more of serious guy who, after attaining the peak of insanity can do anything, and also is the brain behind every plan. Neil Bhoopalam as Zubin, aka Parsi, plays a guy who tries to stay away from most hideous activities, but sometimes plays along just for the sake of friendship. Kirti Kulhari as Tanya, plays an aspiring actress who is in love with Karan but never admits that and is an important part of their group. Kalki Koechlin as Amrita, aka Amy, plays a girl who is undergoing a mental trauma for the last 12 years, and is new to the group. She starts enjoying their company and eventually everybody gets into trouble. Supporting cast includes Nikhil Chinappa, Pawan Malhotra, Rajat Kapoor and Raj Kumar Yadav. Everybody did a fantastic job and it would be unfair to pick out one.

Q.5) Quite a speech that was, calm down, you surely are high today.
Lebnox: Don't call me the next time if this review doesn’t gather maximum views. Okay, do call me after giving me a warning. And I’m not high.

Q.6) How was the direction?
Lebnox: The thing which I liked the most about Bejoy Nambiar is that he is not afraid of attempting something as bizarre and disturbing as Shaitan. I mean, how many movies have you seen which show a bunch of 20 something guys going crazy and landing up in trouble? Very few, I would assume. But Shaitan is quite different from those, sure it has similarities with Anurag Kashyap’s Paanch but still, it is original and insane and disturbing and shows reality. The way story proceeds is thrilling and you’re eager to know what is gonna happen next. Sometimes you guess right and sometimes Bejoy surprises you. His direction was a pleasure to watch except, the scenes which were supposed to be disturbing, were actually disturbing. Bejoy has a special talent, that was visible, but a few scenes in the movie which seemed like a repetition of earlier portions, snatch away the brownie points he deserves. But I really don’t care. He has a long way to go, and I’m sure he’ll get better with his second script.

Q.7) How about the technical aspects?
Lebnox: See all the movies which are made under Anurag Kashyap productions have terrific cinematography. The camera work is always unique and is thrilling. One feels amazed in some of the scenes. Music is addicting. Really. There are a number of composers who have composed songs for the movie and all of them have done an outstanding job. The songs, slowly, grow on you. Editing, in first half is razor sharp, and in second half, a few scenes become repetitive.

Q.8) What’s the story is all about?
Lebnox: Friendship, trauma, dysfunctional family, drugs, sex, love, money, heavy metal music, booze and impulsiveness. Any of these things has a big effect on an individual. What would happen if all these things have a combined effect on you? What activities would you indulge in? What measures would you take if you land up in trouble? What would you do if your inner devil takes over your soul?

Q.9) And?
Lebnox: And you’ve two ways of knowing the answers to these questions. Either try doing these things or watch Shaitan. Or if you don’t want to know the answers and you feel you’re better off not knowing, not delving, don’t watch it.

Q.10) So the movie is a hit?
Lebnox: If by hit you mean recovering expenses and earning profit, yes it will be hit.

Q.11) So that means everybody should watch it?
Lebnox: Yes of course everybody should watch it. But if you can’t handle disturbing scenes and can’t watch the ‘future’ of our country going crazy, DO NOT watch it.

Q.12) Final Verdict?
Lebnox: Movie is awesome. I had expectations and it fulfilled them all. But it is certainly not for everyone. Some scenes are so disturbing that you may close your eyes and feel genuinely sorry for the characters. That was much needed though; I mean that’s what I think. Such extraordinary situations were necessary to make the youth realize that if they try to be smart by doing things they’re not supposed to do, they end up in a shitload of trouble. Worse case, they might end their life. And, there were a few glitches that one might question, like some said the movie ends in a whimper. I replied, just thank god you’re not doing those things so you’re not sure what the person becomes and how/she reacts in those situations.

Q.13) You sure you’re not high, right?
Lebnox: Ha-ha. Why are you always afraid of my mood? Even if I’m high, I just gave you an awesome review. What more do you need? (Narcissist, we thought, but then who cares. He is actually awesome.) (And yes, he laughed. Finally.)

With this we end our interview right here. Lebnox said he needed a sound sleep so he rushed out. After a disturbing movie and interview, he atleast deserves a sound sleep. Doesn’t he?

Ragini MMS

Hello friends, how are you all? Hope you’re enjoying this cricket season. And we’re glad that you always care to take your time out for our little but accurate and enjoyable review show. We’re back with Ekta Kapoor’s Ragini MMS. The movie has been in news for obvious and for some unobvious reasons as we all know. And our man of the show is here to review it. Please welcome, LEBNOX!

“Hey Lebnox, What’s up? How are you?”

“…Man, all those who say horror movies don’t scare them, LIE!”

“So did it scare you? I mean you’re that much scared?”

“Nay man, I always come under exceptions as you all know. I never lie.”

“ So let’s begin the interview. Shall we?”

“Of course, what are you waiting for? Another MMS?” There it was. Finally. The classic Lebnoxical wink. He is the man.

Q.1) Describe the movie in one word.
Lebnox: Enjoyable.

Q.2) Enjoyable? This is supposed to be a horror film.
Lebnox: So? Can’t one enjoy horror movies?

Q.3) Yeah. Okay. My bad. So did it scare you?
Lebnox: You asked those questions which you’ve learnt by heart. Don’t you? I think you’ve asked the question earlier and the answer was in negative. But yes, it has potential to scare some. To a great extent. But not to everybody. ( He always does this. Answering our question in way to embarrass us. Damn!) 

Q.4) Okay. Okay. Let’s talk about the performances.
Lebnox: Oh boy! Raj Kumar Yadav is a tremendous actor. I’ve become his fan now. He makes the film enjoyable. His dialogue delivery, comic timing, facial expressions, and everything were just perfect. Yes. PERFECT! He makes you laugh. He scares you. He makes you fall in love with his performance. Kainaz Motivala, on the other hand, is a real charmer. You instantly fall in love with her innocence. The last thirty minutes of the movie, where you expect an out of the box climax, she does the entire job. But easily, Raj Kumar Yadav scores much higher than her.

Q.5) Let’s come to…. Hey what are you thinking?
Lebnox: Ah, nothing. Raj Kumar Yadav is a daring man. In LSD, he was the one who filmed the sex tape and sold it. Now he is back to repeat history in Ragini MMS. He is a rascal but I’m his fan now. And oi, Kainaz looks awesome. Epitome of awesomeness, I meant.

Q.6) Is the movie rip off of Paranormal Activity?
Lebnox: I don’t think so. A few scenes may have been borrowed from Paranormal Activity. The truth is, if you like the movie, you won’t care if it’s a scene by scene rip off. But if it is bad, you’d want to curse everybody associated with that movie.

Q.7) How’s the direction?
Lebnox: Umm… Not very good. Could’ve been better. Debutante Director Pawan Kripalani tries his best to scare you off but only manages to do that in a very few scenes. One thing he has done well is that he made his actors act terrifically.

Q.8) And what’s the story?
Lebnox:  Well, you know it all. And moreover, what story do you expect in a horror movie? Every time in a particular house there always lived a woman who was killed and now she haunts everyone coming in that house. Same is in this movie.

Q.9) It is being labeled as scariest date movie ever. How correct is that statement?
Lebnox: Not really. One expects a lot before going to the theater. The ghost doesn’t scare much. The sound effect does the entire job of earning your full attention, making you grab your friend’s arm or whatever. After you come out the theater, you feel movie should have been more scary.

Q.10) What about the real time shoot?
Lebnox: In LSD more real time shooting was present. Here it is used in the beginning and in the end. Rest all is normal shoot. But yeah, camera angles used in the movie are super apt.

Q.11) So the movie is a hit?
Lebnox: Ekta Kapoor has made sure it turns out to be a hit. So yeah, it shall recover its expenses with ease and collect good money at the box office.

Q.12) Are you sure you didn’t get scared?
Lebnox: Do I look like I’m scared? It’s just that, I’m thinking about Raj Kumar. He always makes sex tapes, yaar! (He was smiling in a little weird manner. Had gone mad, we thought)

Q.13) Final Verdict?
Lebnox: Look, the first half had everything. From sex quotient to comic scenes to scary scenes to Raj Kumar. Second half the story went haywire. Some got irritated, some got scared and some got bored. So it’s not like a single man’s opinion is entitled for all. You may come under any of the three categories. And also, the movie is made only for youngsters, and they might enjoy the MMS scene of the movie. (There was a possibility of him laughing boisterously. We’re gald he didn’t do it.)

And he left for his home. Clearly, he was smitten by Kainaz Motiwala’s beauty and innocence and had become a fan of Raj Kumar. We suggest, if you really want to get scared and enjoy the movie, go for it. If you’re skeptic whether to go or not, take a pass.